Slideshow

Australian Internet pioneer celebrates its 20th birthday

Research and education ISP, AARNet, commissioned a book for this momentous occasion

  • The Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet) blew out 20 candles today, marking two decades of the Internet down under.In honour of this milestone, the non-profit ISP commissioned the creation of 20 years of the Internet in Australia, a book detailing AARNet’s history and how the company played a vital role in bringing the World Wide Web into our homes.

  • Formed in 1989 by the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (AVCC), AARNet was originally a division of the committee that ran a network consisting of education and research institutions.

  • ARNNet began to commercialise its services in 1994, reselling and eventually wholesaling backbone Internet access to ISPs. Some of the first customers include Internode, iiNet and OzEmail. The latter was owned by Federal Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull (pictured), who refused to be interviewed for the new book.

  • June 23, 1989 marked the first time an Internet connection was brought to Australia. A 56kbps satellite circuit was used between the University of Melbourne and the University of Hawaii through an AARNet connection.

  • Today, AARNet provides services to over one million users in Australia’s research, tertiary education and scientific sectors, including the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney (as shown in the picture).

  • A year later, AVCC sold off its AARNet commercial user base of 300 customers to Telstra, which kickstarted what is known today as Telstra BigPond, the telco’s broadband division. AARNet subsequently ran on the Telstra network and eventually moved onto Optus. In 1999, AARNet broke away from the AVCC and became an independent company.

  • Communications company, Nextgen Networks’ failings in 2003 proved to be a windfall for AARNet. The company wanted to own its own network and made a bid for Nextgen’s optic fibre assets.

  • AARNet is focused on the potential of the National Broadband Network. At the media book launch, AARNet CEO, Chris Hancock, showed off a collection of 27 screens streaming high-definition content to a group of journalists. This has been used in several research institutes around the country and Hancock expects this type of video streaming to be commonplace under the 100Mbps NBN network.

  • More images from the book launch. This has been used in several research institutes around the country and Hancock expects this type of video streaming to be commonplace under the 100Mbps NBN network.

  • Taking questions at the book launch.

Show Comments